The Most Difficult Ikea Furniture To Build

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You just found your perfect piece of furniture at IKEA, but it comes with "some assembly required." Most of us have been there. You've looked at hundreds of options for the furniture on your wish list. When you finally find the one you love, the assembly process alone could lead to divorce or dismemberment. Let's be honest. Anyone who has assembled furniture knows it's a special kind of hell. It could challenge even the strongest of relationships, and — speaking from personal experience — heaven help you if you are doing it alone.

Most instruction manuals caution against this. If your household consists of only you and a few furry friends, you have no choice but to assemble these things yourself. You could recruit a best friend who likes you enough not to walk away at the end of this process. Or maybe a not-so-good friend you don't mind losing when it's over. Otherwise, you are on your own. Assembling furniture always comes with complications. However, IKEA furniture challenges even the most stalwart of DIYers. According to Transform the Nation, this is for several reasons. The first reason is the picture-only instructions. Second, your flatpack furniture boxes may not include the best assembly tools. Keep in mind that your power tools are your friends in these projects. If you value your sanity or marriage, here are the things you should never buy from IKEA.

STOCKHOLM cabinet unit

Much to the chagrin of many shoppers, the STOCKHOLM is a discontinued product. According to Making it Lovely, this stylish cabinet held up to extensive wear in her home. However, it's a nightmare to put together. You needed to assemble the inside first and then build the outside around it.

Ironically, the Stockholm cabinets were one of the models IKEA was testing out a dowel assembly system with (via RetailWire). The idea was to create furniture that snapped together. The dowels fit into openings and slide to lock into place. One person said that a table he'd assembled the old way took him 24 minutes, and he was done in less than three using the new dowel assembly. This story might sound like an exaggeration, but customers did seem happy with the new means of construction. However, based on the number of jokes circulating on the internet, the user-friendly assembly has been discontinued.

Purchase the STOCKHOLM cabinet from IKEA for $449.99

TRYSIL bed frame

This one is another customer favorite. Part of the challenge in assembling it comes from one of its most-loved features, the steel rod that runs through its center, making it extra stable. MyIKEABedroom says this bed doesn't wobble or move once assembled. Another perk is that this bed comes with slats to hold up the mattress.

However, one Reddit user said it was a problem to line up all the associated pieces while assembling this bed. Those who responded commented that the parts might not be oriented correctly. Knowing which part matches up with the pictures in the instructions has still led to problems for many DIY assemblers. Another Reddit thread reported problems with disassembling this piece when moving. The IKEA instructions state that you can best disassemble the TRYSIL by following the instructions backward. This tip might mean you need to go online to download a new copy if you can no longer find your original instruction manual.

Purchase the TRYSIL Bed Frame from IKEA for €129

BEKVÄM step stool

When the steps for your step stool don't have holes to attach to the legs, the assembly can get a little complicated (especially if you don't have a power drill at home).

If everything is as it should be, your biggest challenge will be the wooden chops, according to Tip Junkie. Once inserted, they are difficult to remove. These wooden pieces help hold the item together but will be loose until the screws are tight. The seat or top step of the step stool is the last part of the assembly. If you manage to get it assembled correctly, there are some great ideas for how to make your Bevkam unique (via Make Calm Lovely). For example, you can paint stripes on each of the stairs, use wallpaper on the steps or washi tape on the legs, or stencil the entire piece.

Purchase the BEKVÄM from IKEA for $30

VIDGA triple track rail

You might not think a rail would be complex, but the VIDGA has tested the patience of many IKEA customers. According to the renov8tor, there are some specific things you have to do if you don't want to spend a lot of time, money, and frustration on the build and installation of this IKEA find. You need to know that the pieces sell separately, so you don't get full installation instructions. Wall brackets only come with instructions for installing the wall brackets, not connecting them to the rails. The rails only come with instructions on cutting and assembling those pieces. Plus, the ceiling mounts have the same fatal flaw.

Next, you need to use flat head screws to attach the brackets. The brackets need to connect to the rails with the screws, and both center rails need to be the same length to fit each other. The end caps can't be put on until the very end, or you won't be able to insert the wheeled hangers for the curtains. There are some detailed tutorials online based on user experience installing these rails (via Eartheim). The tutorials point out that eight Allen screws come with the rails, and one is longer and designed to attach two specific pieces. The others can be used wherever suits your fancy.

Purchase the VIDGA triple curtain rail from IKEA for $22.00


Space plays a role in the difficulty of assembling this piece. There should be plenty of room to build the item and stand it up. Once constructed, it needs to go against the wall. Between Naps on the Porch found the construction process simple until it came time to put the back on the bookcase. It slides up from the bottom, and there wasn't room to accomplish this in the space used. The good news is, you don't have to use the back at all.

Many people have found these shelves challenging to put together. Partly because of space constraints, but primarily because of the difficulty of deciphering instructions. Many people have trouble translating two-dimensional pictures into three-dimensional tasks (via SeniorCare2Share). It's best to use your own tools rather than the provided ones. They will be more familiar and likely of higher quality, simplifying the process. Once finished, you can decorate bookshelves with dishes, houseplants, and other beautiful knickknacks.

Purchase the BILLY/OXBERG bookcase from IKEA for $249.00

ENHET flatpack kitchen

Did you know you can get an entire kitchen at IKEA? You can, but you'll want to carefully consider if the frustration of putting it together is worth the money you will save compared to traditional renovations. The cost savings are considerable. According to Choice, a standard kitchen renovation costs $26,280. By comparison, the cost of an IKEA flatpack kitchen can start at around $1,000. You can get everything professionally installed for another $5,000, making it far more affordable than the standard renovation.

If that's still more than you want to spend, you can assemble the pieces yourself. However, Basic Lowdown cautions there are many pieces, and it's most certainly a two-person job. Like other flatpack furniture, the challenge comes in building the kitchen cabinets. Rails have to be attached to run the drawers on. After you assemble each of those drawers, that is. Next, you can build the cabinets, install the shelves, and attach the doors. Hinges are among the top complaints when it comes to assembling flatpack furniture.

Purchase the ENHET flatpack kitchen from IKEA for $1,026.99

TUFFING bunk beds

You'll notice a trend on this list. Many of the most difficult to assemble items from IKEA are beds. One Amazon customer described the assembly process as "birth control." They said it was a two-person job but recommended against having your spouse be your assistant. The instructions don't show the proper orientation of the pieces. While the frame is a challenge, the mattress support is the killer. However, the mattress frame is sturdy, so it might be worth the challenge if that is important to you.

This item also made it into a Reddit thread. A user was looking to disassemble the piece for a move. The best advice anyone could offer about unremovable screws was to cut the fabric holding the pieces together. However, this step would make the item useless. Unless you plan on holding onto this for a while, you may want to rethink the purchase.

Purchase the TUFFING bunk beds from IKEA for $169.99

BESTÅ TV wall unit

Reviewers on UrbanToronto list the BESTÅ TV Wall unit as the worst assembly project they've tackled. One said it took two of them five hours and had way more pieces than it seemed like it should have. They also pointed out that it weighed 150 pounds but looked nice once assembled.

Try each step in the building process to ensure you are doing it correctly before attempting any assembly steps (via Norse Interiors). This tip seems like good advice. It will help prevent damage or errors you have to undo later, at least at each stage of the process. However, it also means the process will take twice as long. This consideration makes the cabinet and the build advice less practical for some people. You may be better off choosing a different item with better instructions. Or better yet, purchase a piece that doesn't require assembly. Flatpack furniture is definitely not for everyone. However, once you finish building this item, you can start thinking about fun ways to decorate a TV stand.

Purchase the BESTÅ TV wall unit from IKEA for $205

PAX wardrobe with doors

The PAX is a pretty ingenious closet storage system. Like the flatpack kitchen, this is a renovation tradeoff that costs a fraction of what custom closets would. However, the build is extensive and can be a headache. According to NBC, the PAX is a wildly popular IKEA item since it looks stylish and can be customized to fit your unique tastes. However, even with extensive building and DIY experience, expect the build process to take a minimum of seven hours.

You also need to do an online designing process before ordering the system, which is no simple task. You will need to print the specs to plan and then use the online customizer to place your order. There are a couple of good assembly tips to keep in mind. First, it is easier to construct the PAX on the floor. If your ceilings are lower than 95 inches, your assembled unit will get caught on the floor and ceiling (via DIY Playbook). In that case, you will need to build them inside the closet.

Purchase the PAX wardrobe with doors from IKEA for $575

NORDLI bed with headboard and storage

Many Reddit users couldn't get the pieces of this bed frame to fit together. One admitted to finally using brute force and literally beating them into place. Another user suggested they might have missed a step, but the user asserted that they had followed all of the instructions.

Bogoten recommends using Task Rabbit to have this professionally assembled if you want it in your home. The drawers are difficult to build even with extensive experience. They are also cumbersome to maneuver. As an additional challenge, they point out that the storage drawers are not a great option, even if you manage to assemble them successfully. The drawers take up a lot of space in your room when open. If you have storage drawers on both sides of your bed, you need twice the room to open them and access the things you bought a storage bed for in the first place.

Purchase the NORDLI bed with headboard and storage from IKEA for $659

FRIHETEN sleeper sofa

Some of the issues with this might also result from an owner-user error. Or it could be a faulty piece of furniture. A review on Alternative Couch said it only took around 45 minutes to an hour. However, there were a couple of problems with the assembly. The cushions did not line up correctly when inserting screws, and the item had to be disassembled and reassembled. The screws had hats that came off instead of the screws the first time around.

A Reddit user complained that they couldn't get the armrest to attach, no matter what they tried. Some commenters suggested the user had missed a step. However, they weren't the only ones with this problem. One commenter responded that they also could not figure out this step. As a result, they returned the couch and selected a different item instead.

Puchase the FRIHETEN sleeper sofa from IKEA for $699

STUVA loft bed

According to Jennifer's Little World, it took an entire day for two people to assemble this bed. While the idea is to place it in small rooms to save space, a lot of room is needed to put the piece together in the first place. Another challenge of this item is size. It's so big that it will not easily fit out the door of most standard rooms. If you plan to move in the future, this is not the best piece to invest your time and money.

The benefit of this item is that it is a lofted bed, making it ideal for adding to your child's room. It comes with built-in storage. However, if you've read this far, you know that building anything from IKEA designed for storage is a big prospect. Maintenance of the piece is also a challenge. You might even need to climb into the bed to change the fitted sheet (via Jennifer's Little World). Bring a handheld vacuum with you to take care of all the dust that accumulates on the pieces.

You can purchase a similar loft bed from IKEA for $634

HEMNES 8-drawer dressers

Viv and Tim Home recommend a lot of space for assembling the HEMNES. You're building this chest of drawers yourself, practically from scratch. Speaking as someone who's done everything but carve the wood for a dresser that came with "some assembly required," this can be enough to drive a person mad. The dresser itself and each of the drawers need to assemble. Then the rails have to be attached, and the drawers slide into them. For some good news, the dresser has excellent reviews. It's beautiful, affordable, and durable.

It's best to use a racketing socket wrench to make the assembly process more manageable. You can build the drawers yourself, but you'll need a friend to move them. Unsurprisingly, there were complaints about this item on Reddit, too. One commenter had trouble installing the tracks on the drawers and getting them to line up with the corresponding wheels.

Purchase the HEMNES 8-drawer dresser from IKEA for $349.99

LIATORP entertainment center

This one takes the cake. According to Naperville Divorce Attorney, a professor of psychology at California State University has nicknamed this piece "The Divorce Maker." It is 9 feet wide and 7 feet tall with 150 screws and a 30-page instruction manual. There are also heavy planks of wood and fragile glass panes that you will need to maneuver successfully.

The professor says it isn't necessarily the furniture that is a problem. The assembly process can force couples out of their comfort zone, testing their coping skills and ability to tackle challenges together. The Liatorp Storage Center comes with similar challenges (via Scary Mommy). The instruction manual is 40 pages, and the difficulty level is intimidating. The only way to save your marriage is to hire professionals to build it for you. Let's avoid all things Liatorp both now and in the future.

Purchase the LIATORP entertainment center from IKEA for $1,389